New grassroots initiative to offer financial assistance, career guidance to Bukit Panjang residents

A job fair organised by NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute held at the Bukit Panjang community centre on Aug 18. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Job seekers living in Bukit Panjang can now turn to a new grassroots initiative for financial help and support.

Launched on Tuesday (Aug 18), the Bukit Panjang Town Jobs and Skills Support Taskforce will supplement national efforts to help job seekers, through community initiatives such as financial assistance and counselling.

It will contact residents living in the Bukit Panjang, Zhenghua and Cashew wards on a fortnightly basis to see if they have found a job or need further assistance.

Bukit Panjang MP Liang Eng Hwa noted that Workforce Singapore (WSG) recently opened a job and skills centre to offer career guidance services at Bukit Panjang community centre.

"The idea is to harness and augment what Workforce Singapore has set up here in Bukit Panjang CC," he said.

"From our interactions with residents, we also know that there will always be other things that they need help with. For example, we want to offer welfare support to those who have lost their jobs and are in financial difficulties."

Mr Liang was visiting a job fair, organised by NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute and held at the community centre, with Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MPs Vivian Balakrishnan and Edward Chia, on Tuesday.

There were 464 jobs on offer at the fair, including openings for retail assistants, restaurant managers, software engineers and even farm operators. The fair drew 232 sign-ups, with 126 turning up on Tuesday.

The launch of the initiative comes a day after Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that a further $8 billion would be pumped into various government schemes to save jobs and create new ones.

Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MPs Vivian Balakrishnan (second from right) and Edward Chia (left) at the job fair organised by NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute held at the Bukit Panjang community centre on Aug 18. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Lawyer Chandra Mohan Rethnam, who is leading the new grassroots initiative, will work with agencies like e2i and WSG to match jobs to residents, and with grassroots volunteers to identify residents in need of financial assistance.

Mr Chandra, who is also a member of the North West Community Development Council, said his role is to "draw together the different efforts from career guidance to financial assistance and counselling to help residents in a holistic way".

"There are so many programmes and so much information out there for the job seeker that often people don't know what to do," he added.

"So it's good to meet (job seekers) face to face and engage them at a one-to-one level."

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